1. What are you trying to achieve?
It is essential that you have a business objective for the event, ideally one which is measureable. These objectives may be about building trust, loyalty and relationships with existing clients. But think about new business from existing clients, or inviting some hot prospects with the goal of converting them. Don’t see this as bribe, but rather an opportunity for the prospect to meet delighted existing clients. (On the subject of bribes – familiarise yourself with the Bribery Act 2011).
2. Choose an appropriate event
Choose something with your guests in mind rather than one that you or your board might enjoy. Think about the guests’ interests. Ideally you will know what sport they like, but even if you don’t the stereotypical interests of female designers might be different from salesmen. If you’re not sure, choose a sport that is safe, opting for the tennis rather than the volleyball. However, choosing something unique might also be a prime opportunity for you. If they are likely to attend a football or rugby game every weekend, think about the American football games at Wembley. Also, think about the combination of guests and their personalities – who will get on with whom and how many of your own hosts is appropriate.
3. Choose and buy through reputable events hosts
Yes, you can do it cheaper yourself, but a decent events company will pay dividends so that the best food and drink match the event. Cutting corners here is simply not a good idea, particulalry if you want to appear as a company that puts their customers first. Events companies can find the best seats and will help with the organisation – it is wise to pull on the experience of those who have been to the event before.
4. Communication with guests is key
Ensure the communication is clear from the distribution of the invitations all the way to the day of the event, including all travel arrangements.There is nothing more frustrating than arriving at an event to find there is no parking or no clear signage or instructions as to where to go. If you want to make the most of the event, remember to communicate afterwards; ask for feedback, build a relationship. This will not only help the organisation for your next event but cements the memory of the day in the mind of your guests.
5. Play the numbers game
Do not be surprised if people drop out at the last moment – it really is frustrating but it happens to everyone. The key is to have people you know well who you can invite at the last minute without them feeling like an afterthought and having your own staff on standby to join in. Better to have a table with more hosts than guests than empty seats at a table.
6. Behaviour of your staff
Drink and sunshine are great – but overindulgence at a business event is not. Brief your own staff about this, they are there to work and create meaningful contacts, not to create embarrassment. It's also essential to try to ensure that your guests don’t embarrass themselves either. Your aim is for the guests to take away the right memories.
7. The goody bag
The goody bag is not just for the children’s party. Think of some relevant promotional gifts for the day. If you can give something useful that will be kept, then the event will stay longer in the memory of the guest, way after the day’s events have started to fade. For ideas on promotional gifts, give us a call or browse the appropriate sport section of the website.
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